Daimler, the world’s oldest motor manufacturer, will take a stake in Aston Martin after striking a key engine development deal with the iconic British sports car maker.
The companies said yesterday that Aston and Mercedes-AMG, a subsidiary of the venerable German car group, would develop V8 engines for a new generation of Astons.
Daimler will get a non-voting stake of up to 5 per cent in Aston, which is owned by Kuwaiti and private equity investors, in several steps as the pair’s partnership progresses. The two firms began negotiating the deal in July.
The agreement should help Aston Martin – the only global luxury car-maker not attached to a larger manufacturer – spread the cost of developing new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Aston, whose products are most closely associated with super spy James Bond, stressed that it would continue to manufacture all of its sports cars at its Gaydon plant in Warwickshire.
A spokesman for the car-maker’s board, said: “Our company is this year celebrating its centenary, and the partnership agreed today underpins prospects for Aston Martin’s bright, vibrant and dynamic second century in the sports car business.”
He added: “This strategic collaboration will, in our next generation of luxury sports cars, offer our customers increased performance and efficiency whilst retaining the unique character and style of an Aston Martin.”
Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG, added: “Mercedes-AMG will provide the British icon Aston Martin with engines for their forthcoming sports cars.
“At our company’s headquarters in Affalterbach we are proud to work with Aston Martin – this agreement is a real win-win situation for both sides.”
The two firms also plan to co-operate on the supply of electronic components. In addition, Daimler will get “observer status” on the Aston Martin board as part of the deal.
Existing Aston Martin shareholders include Italian private equity fund Investindustrial, Kuwait-based Adeem Investment and Prime Wagon.
The British company has struggled to fund the development of a range of new vehicles while rivals such as Bentley, which is owned by Volkswagen, and Rolls Royce – owned by BMW – have the ability to draw on the resources of their parent firms.
Aston reported a 9 per cent fall in profit in 2012 when it sold some 3,800 cars, around 10 per cent fewer than the previous year.
Earlier this week, it emerged that the brand would be pushing into Mexico for the first time after unveiling plans for a dedicated showroom in Mexico City. It is due to open during the first quarter of 2014.
The move will take the total number of Aston dealerships across the Americas region to 41.
During 2013, the iconic car-maker introduced three additional models – the Vanquish Volante, V12 Vantage S and four-door Rapide S – as well as unveiling the CC100 Speedster concept design.